Guided Wine Country Tour – Visit Napa and Sonoma from San Francisco hotels
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Wine Tasting Tour to Napa and Sonoma from San Francisco

Wine Tasting Tour to Napa and Sonoma from San Francisco
Cheeseboard, grapes and white wineVisit the wine cellars in SonomaEnjoy a romantic getawayLearn about new wines at planned gatheringsEnjoy the wine tastings

California Wine Country Discovery Tour

  • What is the origin of “Golden Gate?”

    San Francisco’s famous bridge was named after the span of water between the San Francisco Peninsula and the Marin County shore to the north, the Golden Gate Strait.

    During the last Ice Age, when sea level was several hundred feet lower, the waters of the glacier-fed Sacramento River and San Joaquin River scoured a deep channel through the bedrock in the strait, known for its depth and powerful tidal currents from the Pacific Ocean.

    With its cold water, rocky reefs, natural whirlpools and fog, the Golden Gate Strait is the site of over 100 shipwrecks.

  • What is the early history of the San Francisco Bay Area?

    Before the Europeans arrived in the 18th century, the area around the strait and the bay was inhabited by the Ohlone to the south and Coast Miwok people to the north. 

    On August 5, 1775 Juan de Ayala and the crew of his ship San Carlos became the first Europeans known to have passed through the strait, anchoring in a cove behind Angel Island, now named in Ayala's honor.

  • When was Golden Gate Bridge opened?

    The Golden Gate Bridge was opened on May 27, 1937.  Construction began on January 5, 1933. The project cost more than $35 million, ($514 million in 2018 dollars). It was completed ahead of schedule and $1.3 million under budget (equivalent to $23.8 million today).

  • How long is the Golden Gate Bridge?

    It is 1.7 miles long. It has six lanes for traffic and the speed limit is 45 mph.

  • How tall is the Golden Gate Bridge?

    The roadway of the bridge is 220 feet above the water but the towers holding the cables go up 746 feet above the water.

  • Why is Golden Gate Bridge always in the fog?

    The Golden Gate is often shrouded in fog, especially during the summer. Heat generated in the California Central Valley causes air there to rise, creating a low-pressure area that pulls in cool, moist air from over the Pacific Ocean.

    The Golden Gate Strait forms the largest break in the hills of the California Coast Range, allowing a persistent, dense stream of fog to enter the bay there.

  • Why is Golden Gate Bridge red?

    The color of the bridge is officially an orange vermilion called “international orange.” The color was selected by a consulting architect Irving Morrow because it complements the natural surroundings and enhances the bridge's visibility in fog.

    The paint protects the bridge from the danger of rust from salt spray off the ocean and from the moisture of the San Francisco fog that frequently rolls in from the Pacific Ocean through the Golden Gate to San Francisco Bay.

     

  • What is the history of Sausalito?

    Sausalito, population 7,200, is a city in Marin County, four miles north of San Francisco. The name comes from Spanish “sauzalito” meaning "small willow grove.”  During World War II, a marshy area north of town was hastily filled in and turned into the massive Marin Shipyards to produce merchant ships.

    After the War, the shipyard was abandoned and many small naval and civilian vessels were left behind. A community of artists, maritime workers and craftspeople moved in to fill the vacuum. Today the floating homes community is a source of great pride in the City.

  • Where is the California Wine Country?

    It is located north of San Francisco in the valleys of Napa, Sonoma, Alexander, Dry Creek, and Russian River. Popular towns associated with Wine Country include Healdsburg, Sonoma, Sebastopol, Guerneville, Geyserville, Yountville, St. Helena and Calistoga.

     

  • What is the best time of year to visit the wine country?

    September through November, during the annual grape harvest and crush is a great experience. March through May is a less crowded time, allowing for a more relaxed time at the wineries.

  • What is the average temperature in Napa?

    Average daytime temperature in winter: 58F; Average daytime temperature in summer: 80F.

  • How much are wine-tasting fees in the country?

    Wine tasting used to be hosted by wineries to promote their new products and there was typically no charge. Those days are long gone, today the average Napa Valley tasting fee for a basic tasting is $15 to $25.

  • How far is Napa Valley from San Francisco?

    Just 67 miles, but the trip across the Golden Gate or Bay Bridges can slow things down. Plan for about 90 minutes to get to a central spot in Napa Valley.

  • What is the history of Sonoma?

    The town of Sonoma was the original seat of power for Alto (Mexican) California.  The Miwoks named this place "Sonoma" (Valley of the Moon) long before Spanish explorers arrived. You can still see the barracks built by Lieutenant Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo to house the Mexican soldiers responsible for controlling Native American.

    On June 14, 1846,  Sonoma was taken over by American immigrants seeking to establish their own California Republic. The barracks became the headquarters this short-lived insurrection, the Bear Flag Revolt. Today, the historic town plaza in Sonoma reminds us of the town's colonial past.

  • What is the origin of the name Napa?

    The City of Napa was founded by Nathan Coombs in 1847. According to historian Kami Santiago, the name "Napa" was probably derived a southern Nappan village whose native people shared the area with elk, deer, grizzlies and cougars for many centuries.

    Before California was granted statehood in 1849, the Napa Valley was in the territory of California's District of Sonoma. 

  • Who was the first to plant grapes for wine making in Napa Valley?

    George Calvert Yount was the 1st to plant Napa Valley grapes in 1839. In 1920, with the enactment of Prohibition, vineyards and wineries were abandoned over the next 14 years with only a handful of wineries continuing to produce wines.

     

  • When did Napa Valley become famous for its wines?

    Winemaking has a long history in California dating back to early Spanish missionaries who needed something to do in their downtime. (Now that’s quite a hobby!)

    Amazingly, California wines never got much respect. It wasn't until British wine connoisseur and merchant Steven Spurrier got in the act.

    He placed French and California wines against one another in a 1976 taste test (imaging that they would do poorly!). At this event, known as the Judgment of Paris, a Californian wine rated best in the categories of Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. This shocking result changed everything and elevated the status of California wine (check out the movie Bottle Shock).

  • What kinds of plants and animals can be seen in Napa and Sonoma Valleys?

    Several micro-climates and soil types produce some of the world’s best wine-making grapes—Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot, Zinfandel, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc.

    Several endangered species that are mostly associated with the Napa Sonoma Marsh and include Ridgway's rail, California black rail, California brown pelican, California freshwater shrimp, salt marsh harvest mouse, Suisun shrew, and Sacramento splittail.

    Upland ecosystems include California oak, chaparral and savannah woodland. You can see black-tailed deer, coyotes, skunks, raccoons, opossums, wild turkeys, red-tailed hawks and occasionally mountain lions and bobcats.

    Prominent higher-elevation trees include: Pacific madrone, California buckeye, and Douglas fir. Valley oak is prevalent on the Wine Country valley floors.

On this Napa and Sonoma Valley tour from San Francisco, you’ll be treated to wine tasting and exclusive estate tours at three of our favorite boutique, family-owned wineries. Your wine country guide leads this luxury, small group experience. Discover and try wines not available anywhere else!

What’s Included:

  • All Wine Tasting fees
  • Complimentary pickup from most San Francisco hotels
  • Live tour guide narration in English
  • Local Taxes

What’s not included:

  • Tour guide gratuities; recommended
  • Lunch or snacks

Detailed Description

Your Wine Country Discovery Tour is the perfect combination of exploration and tasting in California’s Wine Country. This San Francisco to Napa Valley and Sonoma Valley tour visits three wineries, each specializing in different varietals, such as Zinfandel, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.  A wine enthusiast accompanies the tour, adding expert insights and unparalleled passion for California wineries.

As we depart, sit back and relax as it will take an hour to journey from San Francisco to the California wine country. Your guide will share tales of the attractions we pass.

You'll learn about the Palace of Fine Arts and the Marina District. We'll pass the Presidio and, of course, cross the world-famous Golden Gate Bridge.

You’ll also catch tantalizing views of Alcatraz Island (maybe another tour destination?). You’ll also see the seaside villages of Sausalito and Tiburon before we turn east toward wine country.

We’ll kick things off in the wine country with a visit to a family-owned winery. The wine makers will proudly describe they have combined their natural farming methods with traditional wine-making techniques in this amazing growing area.

The Sonoma Valley is perfectly situated in a geographic Goldilocks zone. There's a unique mix of sunshine, cool air from the bays of San Francisco and San Pablo. Everything combines to help the grapes grow plump and produce wine perfection.

By late morning you’ll appreciate the passion that family-owned and operated wineries bring to their work.  They are devoted to making their estate-bottled wines the finest, award-winning products that fertile soil and Mother Nature allows. Your camera will capture the unforgettable sights, sounds and tastes from one of the world’s finest wine-producing regions.

For our lunch break, we’ll make a stop at V. Sattui Marketplace in St. Helena or Historic Downtown Sonoma Square. There you will enjoy leisure time to explore, unwind, take photos and immerse yourself in one of these special places.

Both Sonoma Valley destinations afford a wonderful variety of eclectic, award-winning dining options. You'll find tasty food pairings along with one-of-a-kind boutique shops and local art galleries.

After lunch, we make the climb to a slightly higher and cooler micro-climate where you will learn to appreciate what a difference a few miles makes in this diverse grape-growing region.

Popular White Zinfandels thrive in this wine-tasting area. You will enjoy their sweeter, smoother profile and understand how they burst onto the California Wine Country scene in the ’70s. 

We’ll finish the tour on a high note. That's when we visit a Napa Valley winery that exudes old world charm. It is modeled after a rambling Italian village. The winery is dedicated to celebrating the Italian lifestyle, complete with fine wines, inspirational scenery and gourmet food.

After finishing up at our third winery, your San Francisco Wine Country Tour will return to the city through Marin County. The drive from Napa Valley to San Francisco is beautiful. But don’t relax too much! A panoramic view of the City by the Bay awaits you from the North end of the Golden Gate Bridge.  It is an unforgettable sight.

After soaking up the stunning views of Alcatraz and Angel Islands, you will cross the Golden Gate Bridge and re-enter the city where we will drop you at the front door of your hotel.  

This is a San Francisco wine tour unlike any other!

 

9:00 AMMeet your tour mates and head north to your first tasting in  Sonoma County, birthplace of California's wine industry.
10:30 AMAt the first winery, learn about the winemaking process while sipping crisp wines. Stroll the grounds, stopping for cool selfies among the vines.
12:00 PMArrive in picturesque Sonoma wine country plaza and visit tasting rooms, restaurants and boutiques. Use our plaza map to maximize your time.
1:30 PMRejoin the tour group and head for the next stop on our great wine-tasting adventure.
3:00 PMVisit and tour a third amazing winery and indulge in our final wine tasting.
5:00 PMCapture memorable photos of Golden Gate Bridge with incredible views of the ocean, San Francisco Bay, city skyline and Alcatraz.
6:00 PMCross the Golden Gate Bridge and be dropped at a convenient San Francisco hotel location.


 

Customer Reviews

Wine Tasting Tour to Napa and Sonoma from San Francisco
– Connie F. on 11/10/2016

It was an absolutely wonderful day. The size of the tour was just right with 12 people and Don did a fabulous job. He picked great wineries and met requests of attendees as well. He was very knowledgeable. We have done many trips to Napa and this was definitely one of our favorites.
– Chris A. on 10/23/2016

Tour met expectations. The tour quide showed on time, was professional and personable. I would recommend Lars our guide any time.
– Shinya E. on 10/13/2016

Very well arranged and sofiscated tour. Fantastic guide/driver (Steve). Enjoyed very much.
– Susan L. on 09/14/2016

Driver was courteous, knowledgeable, and had a good sense of humour. It was a great way to spend the day and his personality made it so. Well the wine tasting and beautiful countryside helped:).
– Margaret P. on 08/15/2016

Great day touring the wine country! Our driver, Vldad, did an excellent job picking out the wineries and was extremely knowledgeable about the area and vineyards. Totally enjoyed the day and having Vlad as our guide!
– John & Sherry S. on 08/08/2016

Nice tour through both Sonoma and Napa
– Shannon B. on 07/26/2016

Don was awesome!!!! He took amazing care of all 10 girls in our group!
– Kirsten S. on 06/10/2016

Really enjoyable ride, entertaining guide
– Julie B. on 05/21/2016

A really enjoyable day out. We visited 3 wineries. The first was very informative and had a large selection of wines to taste. The second stop was less my taste as it featured sweet and dessert wines and there was less information given at this stop. The lunch stop in Sonoma was a great opportunity to wonder round the lovely town. The final winery was really interesting and good to look around the facilities.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Small group experience
  • Complimentary hotel pickup/drop-off in San Francisco
  • Knowledgeable wine enthusiast to guide you
  • Visit and tour three Napa and Sonoma wineries
  • Taste and learn about different wine varietals
  • Free time at lunch to explore the historic Sonoma
  • Daily departures
  • Your satisfaction guaranteed

Wine Country Discovery
Tour Prices*Adults (12+)Children
Regular Price:$135$99
Internet Special:$125$89
ONLINE SAVINGS$10$10
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*Extranomical does not recommend this tour for children three and under. 

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